Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1869

Scholarly Commentary


The 1870 constitution of The House of Life comprised two parts, the first Sonnets section, the second this section of eleven Songs. DGR did not arrive at this structure for the 1870 House of Life until quite late in the prepublication process—in fact, in the proofs for the first edition, which were pulled around 1 March 1870. The distinct section of Songs thus evolved during the three months between the Second Trial book, printed at the end of November 1869, and the proofs for the first edition. To that point the eleven songs that came to make up this section were mixed together under the general heading Sonnets and Songs Towards a Work to be called The House of Life.

Baum is the only critic to comment on the poems as a group (see Poems, Ballads, and Sonnets 152n ): “They were composed at different times and seem to have little unity as a group. The kinship of some of them with the early poems of Morris and Swinburne, both in tone and in technique, is easily recognizable, but it would be difficult to say in any one instance which poet taught the other. Each poem is at least as much a metrical study as a thematic exercise or personal expression.”

Printing History

First printed as eleven Songs in the 1870 Poems, and as an integral part of The House of Life sequence, in the revised 1881 edition the sequence was separated from The House of Life and became thirteen poems. In 1881 the sequence follows the same order, except A New-Year's Burden and Even So follow Penumbra.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: 44b-1869.raw.xml